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Spicy Coconut Chicken Tenders

Spicy Coconut Chicken Tenders are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. With a crispy, coconut exterior surrounding juicy chicken tenders, they are perfectly paired with delicious homemade black pepper hot sauce and sweet chili sauce.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: chicken tenders, coconut
Servings: 4 portions
Author: Mallory Austin


Coconut Chicken Tenders

  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins tendons removed
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut Baker's Coconut is ideal
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne optional

Black Pepper Hot Sauce

  • 4 teaspoons fajita seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper use to your taste
  • 1/2 cup salted butter melted
  • 1 cup Frank’s Original Hot Sauce

Sweet Chili Sauce

  • ½ cup rice vinegar unseasonsed
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari for GF
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sambal oelek sriracha could be used instead + 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water


Coconut Chicken Tenders

  • In a medium bowl or zip-top bag, combine milk, eggs and sriracha. Mix well and set aside.
  • In a second medium bowl or zip-top bag, combine coconut, panko, cayenne, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
  • First dip the tenders into the egg mixture to fully coat. Allow excess liquid to drip off, then coat in the coconut mixture. Patting the coconut on to adhere to ensure full coverage. Transfer the chicken strips onto a plate and repeat the process with all the strips.
  • Set oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with paper towels. Set aside to keep tenders warm while cooking them in batches in a frying pan.
  • Fill a cast-iron skillet or frying pan with 1/2 inch of oil. Heat over medium until the temperature reaches 350-375. Work in batches to fry the chicken, around 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to collect any burning coconut that fell to the bottom of the pan throuoghout cooking.
  • As the chicken finishes, transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with all the chicken.

Black Pepper Sauce

  • Stir together the melted butter, 1/2 cup hot sauce, 2 teaspoons fajita seasoning, and a pinch black pepper (to your taste).

Sweet Chili Sauce

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a gentle boil until the sugar dissolves then reduce to low and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the sambal oelek (or sriracha) and mix through. Let it cook for a few minutes until it’s slightly thickened.
  • Mix the cornstarch and water until smooth and pour into sauce. Simmer the sauce for another few minutes until it thickens. You can add a splash of water if the consistency is too thick. Remember that it will continue to thicken as it sets.
  • Once sauce has cooled, store into glass mason jars. Sauce is best served warm.


Candy thermometer is ideal anytime you are frying. If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can tell if the oil is ready when small bubbles form when the back of a wooden spoon is placed in the oil.